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Letting Go of a Novel

I have come to realize that the reason I am not a published author is my own fault, my own fears. I worked long and hard on Project Torture a decade ago. At the point where I stopped and shifted my focus I had what I thought was a completed manuscript. I had done research on agents to query. I had collected two rejections. Two, out of the hundreds I could have, should have. There is no excuse except for myself.

Even now I have a limited number of rejections. Which means a limited number of attempts. My manuscript has gone through a few big changes in the last nine months. Trying to do a “final” edit through I have now reworked my opening section. Again.

And even though I want to be done. I want this to be shared. I’m realizing that the hang up is me. It’s not the work I’ve done. It’s not how worthy my work is. It’s me.

So what exactly is my problem?

1)      FEAR: Fear is a big one and deserves the number one spot. Perhaps fear of rejection has kept my own personal rejection stash low. More than that, I only have one first novel. One first attempt at winning over audiences. One first shout out saying “look at me, I can write!” And what happens if I fail on all those marks? What happens if my first novel, which is my first born and treated as such, sucks? What if all those people that are impressed that I’ve written a novel are no longer impressed by the un-creative way I’ve strung along thousands of words?

2)      LETTING GO: When I publish, for better or for worse, I’m saying that Project Torture is done. Sure, I can still go back and tweak and edit. I can continue to change two words in the same damn sentence each time I edit. But it will be done. It’s ironic because I am so ready for Project Torture to stop torturing me. I want her to spread her wings and fly. But like a mother I also want to keep her at home. Safe and sound on my laptop and various other back up methods. She’s been all mine since her conception in 2002.

3)      DOUBTS: Like any author I wonder if what I have written is any good. I keep feeling like it needs to be better (hence the rewrite of the rewritten first section). How do I know when she’s ready? How do I know if I’ve done anything right in my attempt to write a novel? I don’t. I need to trust my gut, trust myself. But even with the few people who have read my novel cheering me on I’m left in complete and utter stage fright at the amount of people out there left to hate my work.

In the end the hang up is me. I’m preventing my own publishing future. I’m back to toying with self publishing vs traditional publishing. After all, I did a ton of research back when the year began in 200_. Don’t I owe it to myself to give it a try?

Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. But any and all further delays at this point runs the risk of making my publication year not 2013. Which means I’m playing Russian roulette with myself. I’m blocking my own attempt at success. I’m crushing my own dream.

So this time it really is my last edit through. I will contact that editor that I should have contacted months ago. I will hold my nerves and hold hands with other writers as I figure out how to self publish. I will do it. Because the only one stopping me… is me.

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2 thoughts on “Letting Go of a Novel

  1. Pingback: It’s Time To Fish For Beta Readers (Updated) | The L. Palmer Chronicles

  2. It’s the letting go that is often the greatest challenge. I often think, “I’ll set it aside and polish that one more thing.” There comes a point that we need to shove off into a new direction and new manuscript.

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